American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Notchtop Area, Special K; and Forbidden Peak, Garmar

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003

Notchtop area, Special K; and Forbidden Peak, Garmar. On June 24 Krista Javoronok and I climbed a new route on the smaller spire to the right of Notchtop. Special K (600', III 5.10b) climbs this spire in six pitches. The route starts in the middle of a buttress, climbs a 5.10 wide crack, goes through a steep, somewhat loose, 5.10 roof, and aims for the prominent right-facing corner below the summit. Though this spire had no recorded ascents, we found an old sling around a chockstone in the prominent corner and another old sling around a block lower down. We found nothing on the summit and suspect that a previous party may have taken a different line, farther right, joined our route-to-be for the corner pitch, and rappelled before the summit. After summiting, we rigged four rappels between Notchtop and this smaller spire to the ground.

On June 6 Zack Martin and I put up an amazing route in the Andrew’s Glacier cirque. We climbed the Garmar in nine pitches, establishing the second route on Forbidden Peak. This unique alpine route begins on the central east face with a splitter crack passing through a roof, and continues up for five long pitches of 5.9 and 5.10 to a false summit, which we called the Gargoyle (a beautiful orange plaque of rock). After a 30' rappel from the Gargoyle, the Garmar follows a 5th class ridge for two pitches, then climbs a steep 5.9 corner and reaches the summit via an airy ridge. It’s a great mix of steep face, thin cracks, and beautiful ridge climbing. The route does have a few spicy sections, but this aesthetic line is highly recommended. This was my last climb with Zack, and his spirit has been with me since. His unbounded energy and glowing spirit touched the lives of so many. Thanks, Zack, for sharing your motivation and sharing one of my most memorable climbs in the Park. We will all miss you dearly.

Keith Garvey

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